The and is facing south-east. B is the balcony

The sanatorium lies on the latitude of 60° N, and is sited among pine trees, fitting the sanatorium’s functional requirement of isolation. Like Zonnestraal, it is placed on the highest part of the terrain on a north-south axis. The building has an asymmetrical plan, facing towards South-east, getting abundant of the morning sunlight, much required, and at the same time shielding it from the evening sun when the sun is in the west. 18

The sanatorium is located in a region having long summer days, with the sun setting around 10:30 PM and short winter days when the sun sets at 2:30 PM. The geographical orientation of the building plays a very important role in balancing the sunlight throughout the year. In winters the building is exposed to the sun throughout the day while in winters it only gets the morning and afternoon sun, preventing it from the evening sun when the building is already heated up.

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The shape of the building is a result of a planning principle that naturally organizes different parts of the building according to their requirements. Hence, the placement and orientation of the different wings is determined in respect to their need for sunlight, ventilation and views. Spaces having a similar function and nature are arranged in the same wing, and then the different wings are linked to each other through a central building. i

Figure 14 is a master plan of the sanatorium showing different parts of the building. The A wing is the main patient wing, that has patient rooms and is facing south-east. B is the balcony wing having sun terraces on each floor facing due south. The C wing is the administrative block including the medical treatment rooms as well as the common spaces; dining hall, library and work rooms. D is for the services and staff accommodation and E houses the Boiler room and Heating plant. The blocks towards the west is the junior physicians housing. The image gives a picture of the effect of the morning sun when it is in the east. This shows that the main patient areas in the building are fully exposed to the sunward side, making maximum use of the sun in the morning and the afternoon when it is needed the most. Then in the evening when the sun is in the west, the building protects itself from overheating.

The main patient wing consists of patient rooms lined on the front side and connected to a corridor at the back. (Figure 15) These wards do not have balconies with them, rather the balconies are provided in a separate wing towards the right and are facing south. The patient ward building has a narrow building shape about 7.5m deep.19 In this way it allows sunlight to penetrate deep into the patient rooms without any hindrance.

The patient ward is seven stories high, having openable windows for ample fresh air. The balconies were used as outdoor therapy spaces where patients could benefit from both, sunlight and fresh air.

In the mid-19th century, when tuberculosis and other infectious diseases were a leading cause of death, Francis Lamplough a glass technologist and physiologist, Leonard Hill, initiated to turn buildings into therapeutic devices. Referring to the regenerative power of the sun, their mission was to develop an architectural glass that could let in the therapeutic ultraviolet rays into the buildings, as normal glass did not have the ability to transmit these rays. This specific type of glass was named ‘vita glass’, bringing in health rays (as they were now known) through the windows. An English physicist, Sir William Crookes found out that the content of iron in normal soda lime glass was responsible for blocking ultraviolet light. Iron was not an ingredient of glass but it entered through impurities. Focusing on reducing the iron content with careful selection and handling of materials during the process, they were able to develop soda lime glass with a very low iron content, transmitting the therapeutic ultraviolet rays into the building. ii

Taking advantage of this development in time, the Paimio sanatorium used ‘Vita glass’ to enable the penetration of the UV rays in patient rooms, facilitating the therapy. Therefore, at Paimio, the patient rooms were the main therapy areas, in contrast to Zonnestraal where the balconies served the main purpose.

The L-shaped window (the motto) shown in the drawing was used as a signature during the competition entry. This window was later replaced by a conventional nine-pane window due to practical reasons. A low curving window sill maximized the provision of natural light and venation blinds were provided for shading requirements. iii (Figure 16).

While designing the sanatorium, Aalto’s main aim was the physical and psychological well-being of the patients; resting in pleasant surroundings. He was concerned that a patient room should be different from an ordinary room. As an ordinary room is a room for a vertical person, who is well, whereas a patient room is for a horizontal person lying on the bed. Therefore, while designing for lighting, heating and other such features, this point should be kept in mind. As Aalto did, by positioning the ceiling radiator from where the rays could fall on the patient’s feet rather than his
head.22 (Figure 15)

The Paimio sanatorium was well oriented according to the sun, planning the shape of the building in such a way, not to optimize the sunlight but balancing it throughout different seasons of the year. The spreaded layout of the building provided for better air circulation around the sanatorium and windows of the patient wings aided in cross ventilation.

 

Conclusion

It is seen that the main concern in the designs of all sanatoria has been the orientation of the buildings, mainly the patient wings. Orienting them either South, South-east or South-west, maximizes the sun exposure, which was a main requirement for sanatoria.

Balancing the sunlight depending on the climatic variations of different geographical regions was also important. For example, in the case of the Paimio sanatorium which has a northern latitude at 60°, the asymmetrical plan of the building was erected to balance the large differences between the winter and the summer sun. In this way the building utilizes the sun throughout the short, cold and dark winters by extending the hours of the sun during the day. And at the same time the building protects itself from overheating in the summers, when the sun is at the west in the evening and the building is sufficiently heated up.

All the three sanatoria are sited in an isolated area, away from the overpopulated and dusty towns, benefiting from the natural environment around them. Placed among the woodlands having an abundance of trees that filtered the air in the surroundings and ventilated the rooms with as much fresh air as possible. As this too with sunlight, was another major requirement.

It is evident that the patient wards in all the three sanatoria were designed having a narrow building shape, so that maximum light could penetrate deep inside the rooms. The open air recumbent areas; sun terraces and balconies has been an important feature in all sanatoria.

The use of glass depended on the development according to the time period. The hospitals at the Papworth settlement incorporated glass roofs and the Zonnestraal made an extensive use of glass with more glazing than walls. They used ordinary drawn glass. The Paimio sanatorium was not all glass architecture as Zonnestraal, considering the harsh weather conditions there in the winter months, more glass would create a cold and gloomy sanatorium. However, the tall windows of the patient rooms, having ‘vita glass’ provided plenty of sunlight for the treatment. And because of the use of ‘Vita glass’, patients could be treated indoors, in their respective rooms, with less requirement of wheeling them out in the balconies as in the case of Zonnestraal and Papworth hospitals which had patient wards opening up to the sun balconies, which Paimio did not have.   

In all the three sanatoria; Papworth, Zonnestraal and Paimio the pavilion style of wards has been common. With wards facing south, connected to single corridor and balconies to maximize sunlight and fresh air which was recommended by Florence Nightingale (the pioneer of modern nursing) in the mid-1800s. 

From the early sanatoria in resort style, undergoing notable changes, sanatoria architecture then came back to the pavilion system which was advocated by Miss Nightingale almost half a century ago who was well aware of the benefits of sunlight and fresh air even at that time.

i Alvar Aalto Archive, S. R. M. & Aalto-museo., A., 1994. The Architectural drawings of Alvar Aalto, 1917-1939.. Volume 4 ed. London: Garland.

 

ii Sadar, J., 2008. The healthful ambience of Vitaglass:. Urban History, Volume 3/4, pp. 269-80.

iii Hipeli, M. & Laaksonen, E., 2014. Paimio Sanatorium 1929-33. s.l.:Helsinki: Rakennustieto.The sanatorium lies on the latitude of 60° N, and is sited among pine trees, fitting the sanatorium’s functional requirement of isolation. Like Zonnestraal, it is placed on the highest part of the terrain on a north-south axis. The building has an asymmetrical plan, facing towards South-east, getting abundant of the morning sunlight, much required, and at the same time shielding it from the evening sun when the sun is in the west. 18

The sanatorium is located in a region having long summer days, with the sun setting around 10:30 PM and short winter days when the sun sets at 2:30 PM. The geographical orientation of the building plays a very important role in balancing the sunlight throughout the year. In winters the building is exposed to the sun throughout the day while in winters it only gets the morning and afternoon sun, preventing it from the evening sun when the building is already heated up.

The shape of the building is a result of a planning principle that naturally organizes different parts of the building according to their requirements. Hence, the placement and orientation of the different wings is determined in respect to their need for sunlight, ventilation and views. Spaces having a similar function and nature are arranged in the same wing, and then the different wings are linked to each other through a central building. i

Figure 14 is a master plan of the sanatorium showing different parts of the building. The A wing is the main patient wing, that has patient rooms and is facing south-east. B is the balcony wing having sun terraces on each floor facing due south. The C wing is the administrative block including the medical treatment rooms as well as the common spaces; dining hall, library and work rooms. D is for the services and staff accommodation and E houses the Boiler room and Heating plant. The blocks towards the west is the junior physicians housing. The image gives a picture of the effect of the morning sun when it is in the east. This shows that the main patient areas in the building are fully exposed to the sunward side, making maximum use of the sun in the morning and the afternoon when it is needed the most. Then in the evening when the sun is in the west, the building protects itself from overheating.

The main patient wing consists of patient rooms lined on the front side and connected to a corridor at the back. (Figure 15) These wards do not have balconies with them, rather the balconies are provided in a separate wing towards the right and are facing south. The patient ward building has a narrow building shape about 7.5m deep.19 In this way it allows sunlight to penetrate deep into the patient rooms without any hindrance.

The patient ward is seven stories high, having openable windows for ample fresh air. The balconies were used as outdoor therapy spaces where patients could benefit from both, sunlight and fresh air.

In the mid-19th century, when tuberculosis and other infectious diseases were a leading cause of death, Francis Lamplough a glass technologist and physiologist, Leonard Hill, initiated to turn buildings into therapeutic devices. Referring to the regenerative power of the sun, their mission was to develop an architectural glass that could let in the therapeutic ultraviolet rays into the buildings, as normal glass did not have the ability to transmit these rays. This specific type of glass was named ‘vita glass’, bringing in health rays (as they were now known) through the windows. An English physicist, Sir William Crookes found out that the content of iron in normal soda lime glass was responsible for blocking ultraviolet light. Iron was not an ingredient of glass but it entered through impurities. Focusing on reducing the iron content with careful selection and handling of materials during the process, they were able to develop soda lime glass with a very low iron content, transmitting the therapeutic ultraviolet rays into the building. ii

Taking advantage of this development in time, the Paimio sanatorium used ‘Vita glass’ to enable the penetration of the UV rays in patient rooms, facilitating the therapy. Therefore, at Paimio, the patient rooms were the main therapy areas, in contrast to Zonnestraal where the balconies served the main purpose.

The L-shaped window (the motto) shown in the drawing was used as a signature during the competition entry. This window was later replaced by a conventional nine-pane window due to practical reasons. A low curving window sill maximized the provision of natural light and venation blinds were provided for shading requirements. iii (Figure 16).

While designing the sanatorium, Aalto’s main aim was the physical and psychological well-being of the patients; resting in pleasant surroundings. He was concerned that a patient room should be different from an ordinary room. As an ordinary room is a room for a vertical person, who is well, whereas a patient room is for a horizontal person lying on the bed. Therefore, while designing for lighting, heating and other such features, this point should be kept in mind. As Aalto did, by positioning the ceiling radiator from where the rays could fall on the patient’s feet rather than his
head.22 (Figure 15)

The Paimio sanatorium was well oriented according to the sun, planning the shape of the building in such a way, not to optimize the sunlight but balancing it throughout different seasons of the year. The spreaded layout of the building provided for better air circulation around the sanatorium and windows of the patient wings aided in cross ventilation.

 

Conclusion

It is seen that the main concern in the designs of all sanatoria has been the orientation of the buildings, mainly the patient wings. Orienting them either South, South-east or South-west, maximizes the sun exposure, which was a main requirement for sanatoria.

Balancing the sunlight depending on the climatic variations of different geographical regions was also important. For example, in the case of the Paimio sanatorium which has a northern latitude at 60°, the asymmetrical plan of the building was erected to balance the large differences between the winter and the summer sun. In this way the building utilizes the sun throughout the short, cold and dark winters by extending the hours of the sun during the day. And at the same time the building protects itself from overheating in the summers, when the sun is at the west in the evening and the building is sufficiently heated up.

All the three sanatoria are sited in an isolated area, away from the overpopulated and dusty towns, benefiting from the natural environment around them. Placed among the woodlands having an abundance of trees that filtered the air in the surroundings and ventilated the rooms with as much fresh air as possible. As this too with sunlight, was another major requirement.

It is evident that the patient wards in all the three sanatoria were designed having a narrow building shape, so that maximum light could penetrate deep inside the rooms. The open air recumbent areas; sun terraces and balconies has been an important feature in all sanatoria.

The use of glass depended on the development according to the time period. The hospitals at the Papworth settlement incorporated glass roofs and the Zonnestraal made an extensive use of glass with more glazing than walls. They used ordinary drawn glass. The Paimio sanatorium was not all glass architecture as Zonnestraal, considering the harsh weather conditions there in the winter months, more glass would create a cold and gloomy sanatorium. However, the tall windows of the patient rooms, having ‘vita glass’ provided plenty of sunlight for the treatment. And because of the use of ‘Vita glass’, patients could be treated indoors, in their respective rooms, with less requirement of wheeling them out in the balconies as in the case of Zonnestraal and Papworth hospitals which had patient wards opening up to the sun balconies, which Paimio did not have.   

In all the three sanatoria; Papworth, Zonnestraal and Paimio the pavilion style of wards has been common. With wards facing south, connected to single corridor and balconies to maximize sunlight and fresh air which was recommended by Florence Nightingale (the pioneer of modern nursing) in the mid-1800s. 

From the early sanatoria in resort style, undergoing notable changes, sanatoria architecture then came back to the pavilion system which was advocated by Miss Nightingale almost half a century ago who was well aware of the benefits of sunlight and fresh air even at that time.